The Queen and Prince Philip are to move to Balmoral early for a socially-distanced summer holiday with her family – who cannot go near her
- Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are hoping to go to Scotland early next month
- Bubble of staff will protect her as Coronavirus lockdown continues in the UK
- It means visitors and family will have to stay in other buildings on ground
- Buckingham Palace would not be drawn, insisting Balmoral was ‘private time’
The Queen and Prince Philip are to move to Balmoral early for a socially-distanced summer holiday with her family – who will stay in separate buildings so she can stay safe from coronavirus.
Her Majesty, 94, had been self-isolating in Windsor Castle for the past four months but has now decided on a change of scene.
She and the Duke of Edinburgh will head to the Highlands next month for the break but will impose and follow some strict rules.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had been self-isolating in Windsor Castle in lockdown
The Royal couple will soon set off for Balmoral where they will stay the rest of the summer
Although other members of her family will join them for the traditional summer get-together this time they will not be able to get close to the monarch.
When they get to the 50,000-acre estate in Aberdeenshire she will not host them in the castle, instead staying in other properties on the grounds.
They will be able to meet her for outside activities instead including walks, horse riding and picnics.
A source said a ‘Balmoral bubble’ of staff numbering some will join the Queen and Philip.
The Royals at Balmoral back in 2003, with their pet dogs walking in the grounds
They holidayed in Balmoral back in 1960, with the Queen, Prince Philip and their children, Prince Charles, right, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew, seen here
The Queen had been isolating in Windsor Castle and had to hold her audience with the Prime Minister by telephone as the Coronavirus spread around the UK
They include Vice-Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt, master of the household; Sir Edward Young, the Queen’s private secretary, and Paul Whybrew and William Henderson, her pages.
Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, her equerry; Terry Pendry, her head groom; Angela Kelly, the Queen’s personal assistant and her senior dresser; Jackie Newbold, Kelly’s PA; and three assistant dressers will also join, according to The Sunday Times.
The Queen has spent a 12-week break at Balmoral for each of the past 68 years of her reign.
Since the coronavirus crisis started, Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh have been in joint isolation at Windsor Castle since the start of lockdown in March.
The Queen rides Balmoral Fern, named after the famous Scottish residence for the Royals
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall recently moved from Birkhall, on the Balmoral estate, to their London home of Clarence House as they lead the royal family in returning to public engagements after lockdown.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge remain at Anmer Hall, Norfolk, with their three children, Prince George, six, Princess Charlotte, five, and Prince Louis, two.
Buckingham Palace said: “Balmoral is a private time and we would not comment on any plans or arrangements.”